Running Away From Myself

It's time to close the doors on the previous chapter of my life.

Running+Away+From+Myself

This is the second time in a row that I’ve rewritten a column. I wrote my last post originally in July or August, but it didn’t feel “right.”

Something I’ve learned over the last few months is that there is nothing wrong with taking a moment to sit on your words. Let them breathe for themselves, to see if the merit within them stands with time. This is a good way to not only prevent yourself from sounding like a jackass, but it gives you a chance to think everything over.

Disclaimer: this will be the last of these blog-styled columns for the foreseeable future. I love writing them, I really do. But what makes ToaAR so significant to me is that this platform has given me the opportunity to write about the things I love, so I’d like to so that more. I have some cool plans, including another musical analysis, which if you haven’t read my one on Turnover, you can view it here!

Also, these types of posts are special to me; they are the “Tales” in Tales of an American Redhead. I want to keep them unique; this is the third time in a row that I’ve posted one of these. I believe I’ve told all the stories left in the previous stage of my life. I’m not the same person as I was yesterday, and that’s fantastic. Now, I just need time to pass, so I can go through new adventures and grow. So, let’s call this post the last episode in this story, to acknowledge where I am, and where I need to go.

 



 

Last Saturday, I had a terrible day, which included an experience that sent me into a full-blown anxiety attack.

It’s difficult for me to re-describe it, now that I’m past the event. I described it as “[being] simultaneously hollow while also on the verge of exploding,” which works well.

It’s no secret to anyone that knows me personally knows that my mental health has been in shambles since about middle school. Following the death of my papa, divorce of my parents, loss of my house in Hurricane Sandy, and my subsequent move out of my then-town of Oceanside, I lost control of my mental strength. Combine that with a difficult time making friends and a severe back injury that kept me out of school my junior year for about three months, and it left me fucked up.

When I met my now ex-partner, I threw a blanket over my mental health issues, thinking this newfound love (which was my first experience) would allow me to heal myself without having to do any actual work. This was a terrible idea.

Following the end of what I will describe as an “eventful” relationship, it has left me more fucked up than I started — at least it feels that way. While I won’t go into this since I covered it in my last post, I have made a load of strides since this, including new friends, a guitar addiction, and a loss of thirty pounds, but I still have a ton of work to do.

That’s in a way why I’m even rewriting this. It’d be so easy for me to brag and show off how wise and great I’ve become, how every day is perfect, and that life is perfect. But I’d not only be lying to you guys, but I’d be lying to myself. Growth isn’t perfect. I will repeat it again through text because I can: growth isn’t perfect

For every great set of days I’ve had, I’ve had plenty of terrible ones, where free-falling back into my old habits and demons sounds more comforting than anything. Where the world has betrayed me once more, causing me to question the validity of even being alive at all. This, while frustrating and upsetting, is necessary to grow.

It’s said often, but sometimes you need to take a step or two backward to move further ahead. 

I can’t describe how often I imagine running away from everything, to start again, by myself, as a new person. To leave behind this dead skin and go somewhere far away, where I’d be reborn; this idea comforts me a lot. But I know that no matter how far I run, my past will always be right behind me; no distance will ever change that.

I need to live with the traumatic events I’ve and incorporate them into helping me move on. This means not being so stubborn and arrogant; I need to learn to stop talking and listen more.

Also, physical health isn’t everything. My weight loss ambitions started from a villainous and cruel source, but I’ve latched myself onto these words, and I need to learn that the pounds I shed will not fix me. I also don’t want to develop an eating disorder, which I’ve already received a concerning number of warnings about.

I share these points with you all to not gain sympathy but to break the stigma attached to our mental health in America. We can talk about the things that bother us; we aren’t hindrances to others, because our existence as human beings is valid. I have so much growing to do, but until I’m honest with myself, what’s the point? I mean, who I am impressing by pretending to have my shit together? Nobody.

We live our lives for ourselves. No one will ever have the best interests for ourselves besides ourselves. This isn’t a lack of love from others, but it’s what I said: everyone has their own shit to worry about. This does not mean that people don’t love us, but sometimes you have to put yourself first.

I’ll never forget the time I first learned this concept; I was in third grade, in Ms. Rosen’s class, and she was telling us a story about a group of friends who went camping. It ended with a bear attacking the two other friends and she asked us what we should do to help (she was an interesting teacher.)

Naturally, the group of seven-year-olds said to save your friends. After a few answers, I’ll never forget her saying, “the answer is to get the hell out of there.” She explained that sometimes, we need to protect ourselves, even if it may seem immoral. 

Was this example way too extreme for third graders? 100%. But was her point valid? Totally. 

My point with this story is to mention that we need to worry about making ourselves happy first before trying to make others feel that same way. I’ve come upon the term emotional space, and it has changed my outlook on interacting with others; it’s okay to not have the space to listen and comprehend others’ issues. This doesn’t make you mean or selfish — it makes you human.

I think that’s what I’m learning how to do, to just be human, to just be me. I have a ton of work to do, which would take another 100 columns to explain that, and that’s okay.

 



 

I have my first therapist appointment the day after this is posted, which is exciting. It’s time to take my own advice to become the person I’ve always wanted to be for myself.

To finish this off, I will quote myself from the unposted column, as I believe it summarizes everything best.

“If you made it this far, congratulations, I love you. Always improve yourself, even if it’s one small thing at a time — you can’t count to 100 without starting at one. I’m somewhere at like 17, but it’s better than where I was before.”

And as always, remember to keep moving forward, forever and always.